Rain gods threw a wet blanket on a contest that was brewing for a heady finish in the men's high jump, even as the throw and track events provided little cheer — barring the fact that Satinder Singh upset Asian Games medallist Joseph Abraham in the 400 metres hurdles for men on the penultimate day of the 51st senior inter-State athletics championships at the Sree Kanteerava stadium here on Monday.
Maharashtra's Jithin Thomas clinched the battle of nerves in the men's high jump ahead of the Tamil Nadu duo of L. Yogaraj and Nikhil Chittarasu — all finishing on an identical height of 2.10 metres.
“The officials scampered for cover as the rain came down heavily. Otherwise, with the jumpers warming up ideally, the bar could have been raised anywhere between 2.18-2.20 metres,” felt a senior jump coach.
The jumpers stayed put near the mat and the officials had to take their positions again, but by then the damage had been done by a second spell of showers. On countback, Jithin won the gold. All three are part of the National camp.
Satinder Singh, a 24-year-old Northern Railway clerk, based in Ludhiana, achieved what he had been chasing for the last three to four years on the National circuit: a win over Joseph Abraham.
Running in lane four, Satinder caught up with Joseph nearing the straight and then hit the front to win handsomely in a time of 51.13 seconds. “My personal best is 50.33 seconds,” said the strapping Punjab youth, referring to the mark he achieved at the National Games in Ranchi early this year.
Joseph admitted that during training too Satinder had had the lead in recent times.
“I have not started speed work-outs yet, though I did participate in the inter-Railway and the National Games. I am aiming at the Open Nationals in September,” said the bronze medallist at Guangzhou, after finishing second here.
Sapinder Kaur, an inspector with the Punjab Police, claimed the women's 400 metres in the absence of A.C. Ashwini.
“I'm disappointed at the timing, but then after marriage and child birth I am returning to competitive athletics after almost five years,” said the 30-year-old. Kerala's M.S. Darshana and K.A. Soniya finished in that order behind Sapinder.
The women's 5000 metres once again pitched arch-rivals and training mates Kavita Raut and Preeja Sreedharan. And this time, Kavita avenged her 10,000 metres silver finish with a superb sprint in the last 40 odd metres to breast the tape in 17:00.89 seconds for the gold. Surya, the TN girl who finished third in the longer distance and had set the pace throughout, finished second, pipping Preeja.
Surya hit the front right from the start and maintained it till the final straight when both Kavita and Preeja stepped on the gas, a wee bit too late, one thought. Kavita had it in her while Preeja was just not there for the final kick, with Surya holding out for the silver.
At the pole vault event for women, campers R. Remya of Kerala and Karnataka's Khyati Vakharia finished at the same height of 3.40 metres and finished in that order.
Khyati, who was a sure bet for gold for the host, having achieved a personal best of 3.65 metres at the Ranchi Games, wept after the disappointing silver finish.
“Lack of a coach and adequate training was the reason,” she said. “Except in pole vault, all the camps have shifted to Bangalore SAI. We vaulters are all here, but train without a coach,” she lamented.
The results: Men: 5000m: 1. Suresh Kumar Patel (UP) 14:11.47s; 2. Arjun Pradhan (Utk) 14:13.70; 3. Rahul Kumar Pal (Mah) 14:16.82.
400m hurdles: 1. Satinder Singh (Pun) 51.13; 2. Joseph Abraham (Ker) 51.41; 3. Avin A. Thomas (Ker) 51.89.
High jump: 1. Jithin Thomas (Mah) 2.10m; 2. L. Yogaraj (TN) 2.10; 3. Nikhil Chittarasu (TN) 2.10.
Shot put: 1. Saurav Vij (Del) 18.99m; 2. Budhisatva (MP) 17.98; 3. Jagroop Singh (Pun) 17.85.
Hammer: 1. Harvinder Singh Dagar (UP) 66.21; 2. Chandrodaya Narayan (UP) 63.44; 3. Shiv Kumar (Utk) 61.90.
Women: 5000m: 1. Kavita Raut (Mah) 17:00.89s; 2. L. Surya (TN) 17:01.00; 3. Preeja Sreedharan (Ker) 17:01.22.
400m hurdles: 1. Sapinder Kaur (Pun) 1:00.56; 2. M.S. Darshana (Ker) 1:01.45; 3. K.A. Soniya (Ker) 1:02.65.
Pole vault: 1. R. Remya (Ker) 3.40m; 2. Khyati Vakharia (Kar) 3.40; 3. Kiranbir Kaur (Pun) 3.30.
Triple jump: 1. M.A. Prajusha (Ker) 13.53; 2. Shradha Ghule (Mah) 12.80; 3. Amitha Baby (Ker) 12.61.
Discus: 1. Harwant Kaur (Pun) 58.78m; 2. Krishna Poonia (Raj) 55.45; 3. Praveen Kumari (Raj) 49.21.
Heptathlon: 1. Sushmita Singha Roy (WB) 5625 pts; 2. Navpreet Kaur (Pun) 5070; 3. D. Kapurmala (TN) 4911.